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Keep Pressing Ahead - Facing Difficult Circumstances, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
August 5, 2020 6:00 am

Keep Pressing Ahead - Facing Difficult Circumstances, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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August 5, 2020 6:00 am

Facing difficult circumstances? Wishing you had a good plan to get yourself out of it, or at least through it? Chip gives you five ways to respond when difficult circumstances arise.

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Are you facing really call circumstances right now.

Maybe you have no control over what's happening to the economy or someone's made a decision that is impacting your life in really negative ways. You feel powerless to control it. How do you respond how do you get through what's the plan they would. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge children Living on the Edges of international teaching a discipleship ministry in the Bible teaching of shipping friendship series pressing previous programs is talked about how not to lose hope, discouraged or facing opposition in this program he talks about something must get up past difficult circumstance. We've all experienced uptimes emotionally and physically, financially, but sometimes our group seems to slip and we need help to hang on and not lose westward ships headed. So let's join them now for part one of his message facing difficult circumstances from Nehemiah chapter 7 in a series called the keep pressing ahead and if you would go ahead and open the Nehemiah chapter 7 and pull out the teaching notes want to ask you a question just as you sort of do that part if I gave you 1/32 to be with a friend that you're really comfortable with and you could tell them the most challenging circumstance in your life right now. Tell me they wouldn't tell anybody if someone can really confide in and I just said you know how how are things going and you got me on will find okay. The most challenging circumstance in your life right now. And maybe one that you finally control of what would be the clearer you get that in your mind as we begin the more helpful the spirit of God is going to use his word to speak to you talk about difficult or sometimes even what seems like impossible circumstances, and you can see from Nehemiah chapter 7 the response new protestant parallel. This is a new is that it's James chapter 1 someone says things are going wrong. If there's one passage that comes to my mind is James one very first book of the New Testament written was written by Jesus half-brother of these Jewish Christian to come to Christ in their persecuted and their their fleeing as other leading jobs are leaving their homes off and their families have disowned them and James would write the spirit of God. Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials in that phrase, various trials, has the idea of external circumstances, and then he gives the reason knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And that's our word who pimento keep pressing ahead and then let endurance have its perfecting or maturing results. You might be perfect or mature or lacking in nothing.

God's going to use it is what he say Weasley quoted to their but the very next verse says, but if any of you lack wisdom.

In other words, you don't know how to keep pressing ahead. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach. In fact, the ideas that even if our circumstances are difficult because we messed up we can come to God say father please help me out in the how to get out of this.

I don't know what to do. He says I long to teach you and give you insight and wisdom about what to do and what you see is Nehemiah is going a model for us how to respond to negative circumstances, the kind especially that you have zero control over. I made a list of some that happen in our lives that I mean there's no one to blame a flood happens, the weather changes in your farmer and your crops don't grow. There's a tsunami in one part of the country and therefore has someone told me a bunch of the plant shut down so there's no parts so you can't sell the parts so this is what happens to your car sales and this is what happens to your service department and or the laws change the interest rates change political parties can't make a decision right. There's just certain stuff you go to the doctor and you been praying and hoping and thinking and the doctor just says I'm sorry you can't have kids meet what you do when things are just, they come in your life.

Your company goes bankrupt and all your money was in the retirement in the company and they go under. I mean you plan on retiring in the interest rates they projected.

You know, 12 years ago. You put your money here, here and here and next year you were supposed to you know retire and I you realize next year you got another seven or eight or 10 years if things go well. So how you responded that have how does a follower of Christ deal with that will that's what Nehemiah is going to teach us to do that. Let's understand Nehemiah's difficult circumstances get idea what he's going through. To do that you have to go back a little bit Jewish history that if you would open your Old Testament and as I'm doing. I'm reading to the whole Bible this year and if you get the first and second Chronicles and first and second Kings you get the story of all these kings and as you know, it was separated. Judah is following God for a season into the tribes of Israel. They begin to fade away and the problem of all of them as they disobey God they start worshiping idols, and they start detestable practices beyond even with the pagans were doing.

I mean followers of Yahweh are actually offering their kids in the fire to false gods and so God's judgment promised, and he sends him into exile. The been in Babylon for 70 years well Isaiah made a prophecy hundred 50 years before it happened.

Names names and he said there will be a king that I'm going to raise up named Cyrus and he will declare an edict that all my people should go back and rebuild Jerusalem and as we read the annals of history, we find that that's exactly what happens, God raises us man up.

That's exactly his name he pays for it even takes all the things are in the treasury and the things were taken out of the temple of God and he sends it back with them and there's a prince of Judah names the ruble and so he heads back and you can see what is a think it's 538 BC and so he heads back with a group of people and they rebuild the temple, and it's not nearly like the great big one that Solomon had, but they get going and it stops and starts and stops and starts and then there was a priest and a teacher. The long name as run about 70 years now 75 years or so later he goes back with another group of people and a different King says where you can go. I just read it this morning and they paid his way.

So God is orchestrating this to get his program back on exactly what he wants done and then you have 12 years later you have Nehemiah and he's a businessman somebody MacCallum, a politician, and he knows we get a rebuild the walls and we've heard his story and so first six chapters are all about rebuilding these walls.

Let us arise and built all kind of problems to get these walls done and and we come into chapter 7. The walls are done. The gates are dropped they look at this great big open area that hasn't been used for hundred years as a real city and its empty and there's not any houses and are supposed to repair the temple and they don't have any resources so I mean it was like 100 year deal. Let's just circumstances. Nehemiah did exactly what God morning to do the walls are rebuilt. The people are now gone. Okay, now what. Let's discover how Nehemiah faces his very interesting and difficult circumstance now open. If you will to chapter 7. Again, if you're like me, I never grew up reading the Bible. So go to Psalms open about the middle and go left and hit Job and keep going left and you'll find Nehemiah now this is where this chapters. If you happen to be reading to the Bible you read the first few verses is kinda interesting. And then you turn the page and you say this is gonna be a very quick read because I'm not reading others' lists right pick it up with me in chapter 7.

After the wall had been rebuilt and I set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and the singers in the Levites member Levites. They work at the temple singers. They work at the temple. They were appointed first to I put in charge of Jerusalem canonized that's his brother along with Hannah and I of the commander of the Citadel, the Citadel, as it is a corner it's a fortress so it's it's a military installation because he was a man of integrity and fear God more than most.

I said to them, the gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot so it's later in the day. Normally would be open at dawn while the gatekeepers are still on duty had the door shut and bar them so another words were to open the gates light and were going to shut them early also appoint the residents of Jerusalem as guards summon their posts and then some of their own houses now we get in verse four. Here the circumstances. Now the city was large and spacious, but there were few people in it and the houses had not been yet rebuilt. So God put into my heart to assemble nobles, the officials, the common people for registration by families. So here's this big open city. The walls are finally done. Everyone's looking at one another. There's no houses in here what we gonna do. I mean, the goal is that the temple against a function we have houses we have a city now after hundred years you have Jews and non-Jews and cut 1/2 choosing. It's like this whole thing needs to get aligned to fulfill God's purposes God's purposes. He was going to take this nation like a piece of coal and shape it and by their laws and and how they live, and he would exalt them in such a way that even Gentile nations would see there's only one true God. And so they're supposed to get this thing back on track and there's no houses is not very many people. In fact, if you count them up, but that's pretty good sized cities only 49,000 people. They live in all these different towns and so Nehemiah has this idea and he calls a meeting gets all the leaders together and all the people. These are the people of the province who came from the captivity the exiles with Nebuchadnezzar, as were two has the same story at any has the genealogies and he finds a scroll of all the people who came back from Babylon to resettle, not about you but this is the part where I get pretty bored back, let's, let's meditate the descendents of per Roche 2172 of ship detail wherever you say his name 37.

Can you imagine this going through all those to us. This is kinda meaningless.

But look at the structure of it noticed the genealogies he starts with the men of Israel skip down to verse 26 the meta-Bethlehem skip down. Now he talks about the priests in verse 39 verse 43. Now he says there's Levites verse 44 there singers verse 45 there's gatekeepers verse 46 the temple servants their servants of Solomon and the notice he shifts. He actually gave us 18 different family clans or units will talk about why he's doing this and then he shifts and begins to talk about where people came from and is going identify about 20 different villages. He says the following came from the towns of tell Malan that he lists all these towns and in skip down to verse 64 and as people going through the records and used see what you trying to figure out who's going to live here.

How do we get this started. How we fund getting this temple going to get the Jewish state aligned what we going to do and so he finds this genealogical record and he says will who actually came back and then evaluates all the roles all the people from what towns in the notice. They had little snag a search for the family records verse 64. But they couldn't find them and so they were excluded from the priesthood is unclean. The governor therefore ordered them not to eat any of the meat sacrificed so he's beginning to find out who's there. What's the role. What we gonna do, and then skip down to verse 66 the whole company numbered 42,360 and and besides that, there's another 7000 or so menservants and maidservants and then there's 245 minute women who were singers and that he even literally is getting very specific notice there's 736 horses, 245 mules four and 35 camels and a close to 7000 donkeys then notice it goes on and in verse 70 and is giving us or the overview.

He says some of the heads of the families contributed to the work and the governor gave to the treasury talks about a thousand drachmas of gold.

He's the governor and then it talks about then the heads of the families give and then the rest of the people give in a number of things occur not, here's what I want you to get what is his difficult circumstance. If we were just taking what happened.

Number one he has security issues to buyer Sambol at the enemies there on the outside and so you got security issues and the people aren't safe and people don't function well when they feel very threatened and will find out what he does. Not only does have security issues is not safe, but he's got people issues he doesn't have enough people anybody ever been in a place we don't have enough staff don't have enough resources none the people.

Not only that he's got housing issues with Major housing issues. His is not. Interest rates is they don't have houses at all, but he's got financial issues so he's got an assignment but doesn't have the funds anybody here have any of those issues or finally he's got momentum issues. I mean after hundred years.

Stop start stop start stop start it's really hard to get a group going. Now all I want to ask you is which one of those do you most identify with in your world right now lack resources people issues, financial issues, housing issues, momentum you've ever tried to break in addiction or or tried to get your family moving in a positive direction and like for three days.

You do pretty well and then pushed and you stop start stop start fail and then just the times we just feel like you know white, why try this one more time. It quote never works. You know that's not true, but that's what it feels all I want to do is paint a picture for you in this very unusual chapter that it is very difficult and he has circumstances that he didn't ask for. He just took a step of faith.

He's just doing what God wants him to do, but he has people, finances, momentum, housing and multiple issues that he's gotta solve so let's see what he does. How did Nehemiah respond to the circumstances. Number one he improvised table where you get that. What did you notice in verse one that there were these singers and Levites and priests and guards and what their job was was to either do ministry at the temple or guard the temple, where does he put up. He put some of the guard outside the wall. He improvised a seat when you get a circumstance in your life and it feels overwhelming in this happen with our house. Would this happen with my job or host bus to get to school and then what you mean.

That school went under. I was supposed to relocate. Now they don't have the money to do it. You get something get a report from a doctor in your whole world changes because of circumstances, you can't control.

The first thing you need to do is realize you may not keep doing like the same were used to do it so he improvises look they were guards over here were taken from the temple and what we need to do is we need safety more than anything else.

So we put them on the outside. He improvised what their role was in the notice. He improvised on the timing normally will we have to open at dawn we have to close it just because that's how cities work. He said, not the city, not right now. We open all day. We can't guard that long relate to the sun gets hot, I will close it down before the guards go off in your life. You can start thinking outside the box. God will actually use difficult circumstances to have you do things start things and think in ways that you would never do on your own.

You know that old phrase that necessity is the mother of invention is true. Most of us don't think outside the box. Think about a different alternative a different role improvise unless what unless you have to. The second thing he does is he delegates. Look at verses two and three.

He realizes that his role was to come rally the people. He's a business guy. He's got leadership gift.

He gets the people together. The walls are built. The gates are done he realizes my role needs to change and I need to give my focus to something else now and so he says to his brother Hannah and I say what you be in charge of administration of Jerusalem and then Hannah Anaya.

You know what you fear God more than most often watching you as we rebook this wall and and you fear God and your man of integrity. You take the Citadel so you take administrative task. You take the military task and bodily tell the people stand guards.

Here's their roles in front of their house were these places you need to ask this question in difficult circumstances who might God have all around me that he's prepared them to help me and what I'm going through when life gets hard.

What you and I tend to do, I going to do this all the lights on me. Everything changed. I can't do this it's too much it's too overwhelming. I don't have enough time. I don't have enough resources. What Nehemiah do. He stopped and said there's Hannah and I there's Hannah Anaya there's the people. These people had this role. We had this time and he stepped back and said it's a new game plan.

Some of you, God brought you today and I believe and I prayed earlier but even as I talk in the spirit of God works, he's gonna take your specific, negative, difficult, painful circumstance and bring an idea to your mind that you didn't have. We walked in here deciding what I've been thinking. I gotta do this, we gotta do this, we gotta do it this way. I've been thinking my role has to be this, I been thinking the timing, those has to be like this. And what Nehemiah wants you to learn what God wants you to learn is when circumstances happen like this.

You just have to say what a second we improvise.

I have to delegate and third notice he listened. I love that line in verse four, at the end and then in five.

He says what he says. Then God put in my heart of the premises you're walking with God the premises you're saying this is difficult. This is painful. I don't what to do, God will you show me this this is sort of the if any man lacks wisdom with any woman lacks wisdom.

If you don't know what to do. Here's a great prayer all God I don't know what to do, will you show me, and so he listens and just I think what it was like him and he goes to his little room and sometimes we make these biblical stories, like so out there, he's just a regular guy and there's times he sit in there, he's going on what to do and I can't act like I don't what I'm doing.

Everyone is looking me in on what to do it on a people time and money don't have the houses and all the bad guys on the outside and want to kill us. Other than that, things going great. Why did I ever leave my good job in Persia right and if you feel like that today. And then all the sons of God put this thing my heart through the genealogical records what's happened is you what the people don't get it that they're afraid and other think about is their security and their stuff. If I can get the records out that all show all the people where we came from, where we been so God gives in this idea. This idea becomes the platform God uses to change how people think and later how they behave. Notice that he asked the right questions when you get this big open space, and he basically says to the people. He has a big meeting right he pulls them together. Patients who are weak were not a ragtag group of people that are in this empty city without a purpose. We are what were the people of God, where did we come from what we came from a lineage from all the way back to Adam work were in David's line were in Solomon's life. God has a purpose. He made all these promises to this nation. God always keeps his promises he made his promises to David Kennedy's promises about the land to Abraham about way look at the miracles humming the miracles. When Zerubbabel went the miracles will answer when the miracles went high with me. We got these foreign kings plan our way and then by the way, he says what what could we have noticed his focus. He doesn't focus on what he doesn't have the focus is on what he does have and so he said wow what what we gotta do.

We got men of Israel got me to Bethlehem.

Let's see we got trees for they do all that's right they do stuff in the temple Levites were they do they help with a couple singers where they do, they sing in the Temple temple servants. That's pretty obvious service of Solomon. All of a sudden he helps the people understand your lineage, your heritage, the promises of God. The miracle working God there been all these thoughts. Not for hundreds but thousands of years that led you to this point in your circumstances may that be this empty city, but the God of the universe has a plan for you. His people in his program and you are the next.and he's gonna provide what you need, was the goal of God, that you would be comfortable and financially secure and everything would go great or does God have a purpose for his people in this time in history, and that's where you're at, why are you here what do you have not.

What do you lack see how this questions he asked those right questions and begins to answer those questions and then he then asked the big one. So what we called Melissa gave his talk facing difficult circumstances of his series pressing ahead will be back with the final word about his message, but before he is. I hope you'll take a second to go online or Share and encourage others to hear this message to adversity comes in all shapes and sizes, discouragement, opposition, tough circumstances and personal failure. But with this series chip gives you the tools and the tactics you need to keep pressing ahead no matter what, for limited time, keep pressing ahead resources are discounted and the MP3s are free to order your copy or to send it to a friend. Just visit us online at or give us a call at 1-888-333-6003. I'll be right back in just a minute with some very specific application to help you today or someone that you love.

But before I do, maybe you're like me and you have people in your life that are going through. I mean very difficult times. I mean, some of the worst times ever circumstances that are overwhelming economics that literally are they just wonder how they're going to make it. Maybe there is relational fallout adversity. Some big changes at work but I mean I want you to think about the people that you really really care about could be family could be fellow workers could be some relatives could be people at church or maybe someone in your small group and you think, oh man, have you heard about so and so and then you hear their story and I think all of us tend to want to to solve the symptoms right there discourage there down there hurting.

We want to make him feel better and you know yes you have text them, call them, pray for them. Get him a cup of coffee but at the core of discouragement and making it through adversity of what you need in the midst of the most difficult times of life is what you need is truth. You know the truth but it's believing the truth to the point that allows you to endure and trust what God has said is true about the future what God has said is true about you and what God has said is true about all the promises that is made because when people are going through times like that the people that we love what they need is the affirmation of the truth of Scripture and so what we've done is we put together a tool is called affirmation cards that take the most common lies that we all believe, especially when circumstances, relationships or economics are falling apart and we take on one side of the card the lies and they would put a little stop sign at the bottom we flip it over and there's an affirmation of truth. This is who God says you are. This is what's true about the future. This is what God promises no matter what and his people. Review those cards. What I can tell you is, instead of just addressing the symptom which is important comforting, caring, encouraging what you do is you help get to the core of their soul and you help them lay hold of the promises of God that will sustain them and allow them by the power of the Holy Spirit to literally keep pressing ahead. In the midst of the challenges are going through Dave, would you let people know how they can get a hold of these cards and maybe pass it on to those that are coming to their mind right now. Happy to preview our affirmation cards online. Just go to these attractive are designed to strengthen you to win the battle for your thoughts about where your hope lies in who you are in Christ for limited time. Shipping is free. Order your set today and maybe get a second set to give to a friend or to send as a gift affirmation cards you'll find Special offers on the app or give us a call at 1-888-333-6003 as we close today's program I gave you the circumstances, but a very ordinary man living in a very hostile environment woke up one morning and realized I've stepped out to do God's will and I was living in the lap of luxury, you know, he was the right-hand man to the king, and once he steps out and is doing exactly what God wants him to do his circumstances are well unsafe environment. No security. He doesn't have enough people took to fill the city so he's got personnel issues. Third, he's got housing issues. There aren't any available and forth we talk about financial issues in an annex broadcast were to talk about momentum issues. Now some of you may know be listening to that and say what you know, that sounds a lot like my life will make sure you listen to the next broadcast because those were the circumstances, none of which he personally created and none of which he could personally control, but an annex broadcast what were to learn is how in the power and the strength of God. He makes a difference when you learn how he improvised and how he delegated how he listened and how he began to ask the right questions instead of looking at the circumstances and the size of his problems. He started looking at the possibilities and the size of his God. There's a few times where when I teach through something as I'm teaching, I think to myself, you know those people that listen you know by the podcast to the radio. They don't have the notes in front of them and I sure wish they did. So let me encourage you because I put a chart on here and all the things I've taught here in this broadcast and the next broadcast will be on the teaching notes so your application today is because I know you you got some tough circumstances. You gotta learn to think clearly and to think right so go to and then the title of this series is keep pressing ahead and then you can go right down through and you can download all those message notes free or if you just want this one is called facing difficult circumstances you click on that.

Get the notes for free and then ask God, Lord, how can I follow Nehemiah's example, in the midst of my very difficult circumstances, and I think you get some real help while his trip suggested one of the best ways to get the most out of this series is to download his message notes and use them as you listen chips message notes contain the special charting made on Nehemiah's Scripture references and more that'll help you get the most out of every program. Best of all chips notes are free. Just go to and click the broadcasts tab or fill in notes on the app whether you use them for personal study or for your small group will help you gain new levels of understanding, will be sure to join us again next time Winship continues a series pressing ahead of them. This is really saying thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge

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